Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Ride Report: International Women's Day Popualire

Riders gather at the Joan of Arc Statue
The weather roller-coaster of 2020 reached a high point on Sunday March 8 and provided a day filled with sunny skies, mild temperatures, and gentle breezes.  All 37 riders who clipped in for the International Women's Day 107k completed the route within time for a 100% completion rate.  This is all the more impressive when one considers that nearly half of the field had never participated in a randonneuring event before.  You will find the preliminary results on the website.  Results will become official once submitted to RUSA later this week.

The group consisted of a good mix of both veteran and first time randonneurs, who braved the chilly early morning temperatures as they headed out from the Joan of Arc statue near the Philadelphia Museum of Art into the north western suburbs.  By the time riders returned to the finish at the Stone Age in America statue most of those early morning layers had been shed, as temperatures became much more mild throughout the day.

The "new to PA Randonneurs" course provided a very good introduction to the many new randonneurs in attendance. With staffed, information, post card, and even a secret control, the riders got to experience every type of control they will come across in longer brevets.  Judging by the smiles and comments of the finishers as they rolled in, the course was well received.  Observant riders might have noticed a continuation of the honoring women theme though careful examination of the post cards mailed at the West Point Post Office controle.

Post ride festivities were graciously hosted by CJ Arayata and Natalie Felice, who live near the finish.  All of those who could make to their house had a great time recapping the day and making plans for future brevets.  A few have already signed up for next weekend's Pagoda 200k.

CJ Arayata has posted a shared photo album where you can stash any additional pictures from the event.

PA Rando veteran Shawn Boyles had this to say of the day:  Thanks again for organizing a ride here in Philadelphia. It was great to ride familiar roads with the PA Rando crew. I hope everyone enjoyed the event. Many thanks to all the volunteers along with CJ and Woody for opening their home up to us.  Shawn had a hand in the route as he was one of the early voices asking for an event starting in the city.

First-time randonneuse Andrea Mules had this to say about the day:  The PA Rando crew is so incredibly warm and welcoming and it was very exciting to join a local ~100k! The route was top notch, and the section between Evansburg and Ambler was probably my favorite section of rollers all day. Perfect weather and great riding companions. Biggest of ups to the folks at the Secret Controle. Those cookies really brought me home to the finish. A cold beer never tasted as good as the one at the afterparty hosted by CJ and Woody. Stoked to do another one of the shorter rando rides with everyone!

Another first-time, Matt Harman writes:  Thank y'all for doing what y'all do. What a wonderful ride, website and company. Thanks for hosting a ride leaving and returning to Philly. I recognize from conversations yesterday this starting location can be limiting. The route was a wonderful way to become acquainted with PA R. 

Matt, like many other of the Philadelphia-based riders, lives car-free. which makes starts in Easton or Lancaster difficult.  Carpools anyone?

Thanks to many people who made this event possible:  To CJ Arayata who became a one-man cheerleader for the event and, along with Woody Felice,  generously opened their home to the post-ride gathering.  To Pat and Cece Gaffney who helped to refine the route and staffed the start and finish controle.
Pat Gaffney at the finish.
To Jim Bondra who staffed the Evansburg controle.  To Sue Proulx and Sue Dasen for staffing a secret controle AND providing tasty treats to energize riders to the finish. 

Secret Sues at the Cemetery
And finally to Chris Nadovich for getting the route ready for RUSA use, organizing the event, and putting up with me through the whole process.  Be sure to thank these people the next time you see them.  They make Pennsylvania Randonneurs' events happen.

Next up is the beginning of the ACP SR Series, the Pagoda 200 on March 14.

Chris Nadovich
- Event Organizer
Andrew Mead
- Eastern PA RBA

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